A wind instrument classified as a woodwind because it is played with a reed, although it is usually made of metal. Saxophones appear mainly in jazz, dance, and military bands. They are made in several ranges, from soprano to bass.
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1851, from Fr. saxophone, named for Antoine Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (1814-1894), Belgian instrument maker who devised it c.1840 + Gk. -phonos "voiced, sounding." Shortened form sax is from 1923. His father, Charles Joseph (1791-1865) invented the less popular saxhorn (1845).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
▸ noun: a single-reed woodwind with a conical bore
saxophone, musical instrument invented in the 1840s by Adolphe Sax. Although it uses the single reed of the clarinet family, it has a conical tube and is made of metal. By 1846 there was a double family of 14 saxophones, seven in F and C for orchestral use and seven in E flat and B flat for bands. The latter are by far most common today, the alto, tenor, and baritone being used most frequently. The saxophone has a powerful tone, between woodwind and brass in quality and blending well with both. Valuable to bands and occasionally used in the orchestra, it is now best known for its extensive use in dance and jazz music. It has a small serious solo literature. All saxophones except those in C are transposing instruments transposing instrument, a musical instrument whose part in a score is written at a different pitch than that actually sounded. Such an instrument is usually referred to by the keynote of its natural scale—the clarinet in A, for example—in which case A isThe Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Single-reed wind instrument with a conical metal tube and finger keys. Though made of brass, it is classified as a woodwind instrument. Its mouthpiece resembles that of the clarinet. The saxophone family includes instruments with at least eight different ranges, the tenor and alto instruments being the most common. The smallest (highest-range) saxophones are straight; the rest have curved necks and their bells are bent up and out. Transposing instruments (producing a higher or lower pitch than indicated in music written for it) in B-flat and E-flat, all have the same written 3¹⁄₂-octave range. The saxophone was patented in 1846 by Adolphe Sax, who created two separate instrument families, for military and orchestral use respectively. Though few composers included saxophones in their orchestral scores, they became centrally important in military, dance, and jazz bands.
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A stritch (also called a Buescher) is a woodwind instrument that is a variety of saxophone. Specifically, the stritch is an straight (curveless) alto saxophone without the upturned bell.
The jazz musician, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, was well known for playing odd varieties of saxophone including the stritch and manzello. He called the stritch by the name, "buescher," after the Buescher Band Instrument Company. The word "Buescher" is now a synonym for the word "stritch."